Southern Africa: Humans and citizens too

Southern Africa: Humans and citizens too

Date: October 28, 2014
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Johannesburg, 3 October: Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to pass a resolution supporting international LGBT rights, condemning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. The resolution was led by Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay, following a similar resolution tabled by South Africa in 2011. This is a positive move towards human rights and equality, and especially apt as South Africa celebrates Pride Month.

According to the GL Policy brief on LGBTI issues, South Africa is the only country in the Southern African region with a constitution that explicitly outlaws all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Homosexuality is illegal in most other SADC countries. Homophobic legislation is enforced and few of these countries ban homophobic discrimination. Some leaders even encourage violence and discrimination against the LGBT community.

Millz* is a youth activist from Zimbabwe with a special interest in queer issues. He has been part of the recent Queer Youth Exchange programme facilitated by Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA).The programme brought together youth from across SADC to spend some time in Johannesburg in order to build the capacity of youth activists and to share creative and strategic approaches to activism.

Zimbabwean lawmakers created a clause criminalising same-sex marriage in the country’s new constitution, which came into effect in 2013. Millz speaks to Gender Links about some of the difficulties of queer activism in the country where prejudiced attitudes persist. He also explains that their struggle is not simply about same-sex marriages, but a more important struggle for equality, acceptance and recognition that they are not just “gays” but human beings and citizens of Zimbabwe. Millz also talks about homophobia in South Africa despite progressive legislation as well as a need for a youth orientated and artistic approach to addressing different forms of gender-based violence.

Click here to listen to the interview.

This podcast forms part of a Gender Links News Service special focus on LGBTIAQ rights during Pride month in South Africa, offering fresh views on everyday news.



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